Rebecca Bernard
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Not Yet: Saudi Women Penalized For Driving

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Women2drive Saudi Arabia logoIf you follow car news, or even just any news, you know that last month Saudi Arabia announced it was lifting its ban on female drivers. While many factors went into the proclamation, we were all cautiously optimistic about what this meant for the future of women in the kingdom. However, some women seem to have forgotten that Saudi Arabia needs time to “prepare” for female drivers and have jumped the gun before they can get their driver’s licenses in June of 2018. At least one woman has been reprimanded for driving in October by the police.

According to the authorities, one female driver was filmed pulling out of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in the capital city of Riyadh. The police spokesman would not reveal what her penalty was. Considering that activist Manal al-Sharif was thrown in prison for her jaunt behind the wheel, the fact that this woman did not face arrest is a tiny step forward.

I am friends with a few Saudi Arabian citizens that I met through school, and when the government announced that the ban would be lifted one of the men posted a picture of him and his wife in the car. She was behind the wheel learning how to drive, and both were smiling. While this picture was heartwarming, I would caution women of Saudi Arabia to remain cautious until the repeal of the ban is in full effect. While it’s a little insulting that they still have to wait for the time to be right, it would be a shame for someone to get in trouble when their legal rights are so close.

News Source: The Guardian